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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (April 30, 2015) -- More than 100 high school students from 21 schools competed in a Spanish spelling bee at California Baptist University on April 25.

CBU's College of Arts and Sciences and Omega Phi, the CBU chapter of the National Spanish Honor Society Sigma Delta Pi, organized the event for schools in the Inland Empire area. The Roger Antón chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese also helped organize the event, along with providing a judge and a reader who pronounced the words.

There were several purposes for holding the event, said Dr. Noe Ruvalcaba, assistant professor of Spanish, including to give back to the community and to showcase the university and what it has to offer students. Omega Phi gave $1,200 to the students for the purchase of school supplies. Francisco Varela, managing director for Comcast and a judge for the spelling bee, also gave $1,200 for the same purpose. Tammy Garcia-Chiang, community affairs coordinator for the consulate of Mexico in San Bernardino, also attended the event.

"There are many challenges and unique elements in holding a Spanish spelling bee. Our biggest challenge was to eliminate most students in less than three hours," Ruvalcaba said. "We will work on these small details for next year in hopes of providing a smoother and a more exciting experience for all."

The top three winners received cash prizes to be used for educational expenses, including computers, software and school supplies:

First Place: Marisol Macías Ponce, Bloomington High School

Second Place: Nivedita Kanrar, Riverside STEM Academy

Third Place: Alondra Fabian Perez, Corona High School